Council Set to Conclude Budget Hearings

by admin on June 20, 2011

The Louisville Metro Council is finishing up its month-long budget hearings to revise Mayor Greg Fischer’s spending plan for the next fiscal year. Lawmakers on both side of the aisle say it has been a smoother process than in years past, but the council is likely to add funding to the budget.

For the last three weeks, council members have heard testimony from city department leaders who are promising efficiency while making cutbacks. Members of the public have also come forward seeking more funding for non-profit groups that were overlooked or underfunded.

Fischer’s first budget utilized a number of stopgaps to fill a $22.5 million shortfall but it included $4.9 million for organizations that provide social services. The mayor warned council members in his budget address against putting any additional spending in the fiscal plan.

However, Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, who chairs the budget committee, says she anticipates the council will add another $500,000 for external agencies that help the needy.

“The council every year employs an economics professor from U of L to look at the revenue projections and he’s being a little more optimistic than the mayor’s people are,” Butler says. “There is concern that could be a lot, however, it is much less than what we’ve given in the past.”

Historically, the council has put in additional funds of at least $2 million based on revenue projections from its own economic adviser. In general, there aren’t any huge revisions expected and the changes may be in spending priorities over adding funds, says Councilman Kevin Kramer, R-11.

“I don’t anticipate that we would add money,” he says. “Rather attention needs to be paid to priorities, and that may be moved around.”

The budget committee will discuss and revise the spending plan this Wednesday and the full council will vote on it Thursday.

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